– –By Sudhendar Hanumantha Rao
While researching about any B-School, MBA aspirants have always been inquisitive about placements and career opportunities. Once the students zero-in on the B-School of their choice, students tend to look for specialisations that can either broaden their chances of good placements, or those that can offer the most lucrative careers. Most of the B-Schools are offering MBA programs in HR, Finance, Marketing, Operations and similar business functions. There are also many B-Schools offering new age programs in Digital Marketing, Business Analytics, Data Analytics, Entrepreneurship, etc. One such niche MBA program in management with clear differentiation is MBA in Management of Technology.
Today, ‘Technology’ is not some exotic phenomenon that only ‘advanced’ organizations can indulge in. Technology has become the sinews of trade and commerce. It has spawned products that have become essential tools for the functioning of organizations big and small. Indeed modern organizations cannot function without technology. Imagine the Indian Railways running over 13,000 passenger trains daily (plus goods trains) if we had manual switching or if the IRCTC site broke down – the system would collapse! Companies of all sizes are recognizing this fact and have been investing heavily in these tools essential for business be they enterprise systems, POS systems, aggregation platforms, payment systems and so on. Worldwide investment in technology ranges from more than 5% of revenue in the case of financial companies and upwards of 1% of revenue in the case of manufacturing and retaining — a substantial amount by any yardstick.
In light of the above investment, it is only natural that companies would like to get the best return on investment. Like any tool, technology yields the best returns only if it is used judiciously finding the best fit between the business functions of the company and the technology tool most appropriate for the situation. This requires that managers not only have an in-depth understanding of their business but also a good knowledge of the technology landscape so that they deploy the most appropriate technology (and not just the latest and the greatest) and optimize their technology spending. They don’t need to be technologists or technical experts – just have a good understanding of technology, its tools, the advantages and drawbacks of these tools as applied to their business and so on. The Management of Technology specialization is aimed at equipping MBAs with this skill set. The specialization includes courses that while covering the gamut of the latest in technology and tools, approaches the subjects from a business and management perspective and also gives just sufficient depth in technology to be able to find the best fit between the business needs and the tools available to meet those needs in the most optimal manner. In common with most rapidly evolving domains, contents of this specialization needs to be constantly revised and updated to keep up with the state of the art else one can get redundant quickly.
Further, not only technology has made possible extra-ordinary speed and productivity gains, it has also enabled businesses to launch entirely new product and service offerings. Technology spend can not only help in efficiencies scaling the business but it also can be a key tool to increase profitability and develop new businesses altogether – a job for which MBAs are ideally suited.
In the current era of the fourth industrial revolution and global work scenario, an MBA specialization in Management of Technology can be highly beneficial for students. The Management of Technology specialization is aimed at training MBAs for this very specific role. Courses include overviews of all key current and emerging technologies such as Fundamentals of Information Systems, Business Analytics (including marketing analytics, financial analytics, HR analytics and introduction to R analytics platform), eCommerce, Fintech, IoT, Information Security, B2B marketing, etc . Teaching pedagogy typically includes business cases of leveraging technology to optimize operations, increase productivity and develop new offerings.
As mentioned earlier, this specialization is not restricted to students with technical background alone as the focus of the MBA program in Management of Technology remains on understanding technology and on leveraging technology in the business environment. However, sufficient technical depth is included to help students be able to adequately leverage the MBA program.
Students with this specialization typically make the best fit for roles such as business analyst, pre-sales, Technology and B2B marketing, Technology Architects, Techno-Managerial consulting and similar roles. These career tracks are some of the most eagerly sought skill by employers in most business schools and students with the MoT specialization are well suited to fill in those roles. Over the years, these tracks can top management roles such as CIO, CTO, CSO and even COO/CEO depending on the key business of the organization. Happy learning!
The author is a professor and dean at Faculty of Management and Commerce, Manipal University Jaipur.